Why Blackbelt?

“Oppressed people resist by identifying themselves as subjects, by defining their reality, shaping their new identity, naming their history, telling their story." –bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins)

Blackbelt shares stories from and about Black folks down South.

Too often, “Southern culture” is limited to the experiences of white Southerners – such as the Confederacy, country music, and monograms. Although more than half of Black Americans live in the South and have contributed greatly to the Southern way of life we hold so dear, we are often omitted from the South’s larger narrative.

OK, but why “Blackbelt,” though?

First of all, this site has nothing to do with martial arts.

The “Black Belt” originally described a region in Alabama characterized by its rich, dark, fertile soil. Eventually the phrase grew to represent places throughout the South where Black residents make up a majority of the population due to the expansion of slavery.

Building upon both definitions of the Black Belt, our Blackbelt propagates the richness of Black Southern culture. Through the Blackbelt Voices podcast and thought-provoking essays from writers across the region, Blackbelt shares stories from and about Black folk down South.

Blackbelt is not confined to the Black Belt proper; our goal is to center Black Southerners as we dive into topics relating to history and culture, progressive politics, justice and liberation, and equity and economic opportunity.

We would love to include your voice.